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By Anna Majavu and Sapa | Jul 08, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE Department of Human Settlements has mismanaged the Cape Town N2 housing project, costing taxpayers millions of rands.

THE Department of Human Settlements has mismanaged the Cape Town N2 housing project, costing taxpayers millions of rands.

This according to the auditor-general's report, which was discussed in Parliament yesterday.

A special audit found that construction began before a business plan had been approved, before enough land had been identified and before the provincial government had approved construction, leading to R71,8million in "irregular expenditure".

Yesterday the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) had to abandon its hearing on the report after Human Settlements director-general Itumeleng Kotsoane failed to explain how the project was mismanaged.

ANC MP Setlamorago Thobejane accused Kotsoane of making MPs "run in circles" in their search for answers about the R71,8million of "irregular expenditure" incurred by the N2 Gateway Housing Project.

"We have been wasting time here from the beginning to where we are. No single answer was given," he said.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi warned the department to hold urgent talks with the City of Cape Town, a partner in the project before 2006, and return with answers on August 5.

The N2 Gateway project was supposed to provide housing next to the N2 Highway between Langa and Crossroads. But it quickly became a political football between the ANC, which controlled the national housing department, and the DA, which controlled the city.

The DA was later removed from the project by the national ministry.

The steering committee, which was supposed to direct the project, had stopped meeting in May 2006 - a contravention of the Housing Act.

Shocked MPs asked Kotsoane to explain exactly who was in control of the project, and demanded to know who had been disciplined for contravening the Housing Act.

Godi accused the department of believing that "politicians don't read documents so they can come here and give generalised answers and get away with it".

Last week residents of the first phase of the N2 Gateway marched on the provincial government, begging Premier Helen Zille to take over the project and repair their poorly built, leaking and cracked flats.


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